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Old 03-26-2012, 12:09 AM   #16
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Re: Ask me about long term independent budget travel

Coolio I was just worried you were a travel snob.
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:10 PM   #17
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Re: Ask me about long term independent budget travel

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I'm travelling around South-Central Europe this Summer but I'm guessing you have been around these countries too. Any hidden gems that you'd recommend in Bosnia, Serbia, Hungary and Slovakia? Thanks
In Bosnia, definitely go to Mostar and stay at a place called Majda's Rooms. Her brother Bata runs a fantastic tour of Mostar and the surrounding area--way more than you could otherwise see in that amount of time. It costs something like 20 Euros.

Normally I'm not the type to do guided tours--I'll go to backbreaking lengths to find my own transport and get things done my way, and you'll see this if you look for any of my trip reports. But this one is very much worth it, one of the highlights of a four month trip.

Spend another day or two in Mostar also to get a feel for the place, as it's a very nice town.
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:34 PM   #18
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Re: Ask me about long term independent budget travel

ever been to New Zealand?
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Old 03-26-2012, 03:35 PM   #19
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Re: Ask me about long term independent budget travel

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If you wait to find people to go with you will probably never do it. Make the decision to do it and you'll meet people along the way and wont be alone.
This is something I completely agree with. I wasted years trying to persuade friends to go travelling with me. Wish Iíd taken the plunge and gone on my own much sooner.

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Did better trips in Romania and Bulgaria. I did the couchsurfing canoe trip which I recommend if you are a CSer and in the area when it happens, also went to Exit Festival in Novi Sad, Serbia which is a cool venue in a fortress.
Any recommendations on places to visit in Romania? Iím strongly considering taking a 2-3 week holiday in Transylvania when I get home from this trip.

Also, does anyone have any recommendations for countries to hitchhike in? Iíve had a great time doing it in New Zealand. You tend to get picked up by other travellers and people that used to do a lot of travelling when they were younger so you get lots of ideas for future trips. I met a lady that worked in Antarctica a couple of weeks ago

The reason I ask is I would never hitchhike back home (Scotland/UK). I don't think it would be particularly dangerous there but your chances of getting a lift are slim.
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Old 03-26-2012, 06:03 PM   #20
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Re: Ask me about long term independent budget travel

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The reason I ask is I would never hitchhike back home (Scotland/UK). I don't think it would be particularly dangerous there but your chances of getting a lift are slim.
In the US, we've been conditioned to fear hitchhiking. In some ways, it became a self-fulfilling prophecy and anyone who is still hitching or picking up these days is... well...

It's not like some developing countries where public transportation is scarce and hitching is something everyone without a car does. I hitchhiked in developing countries, but would be much more paranoid about it in Western countries.

This is a cool hitching story from This American Life. Go here and click on Play for Act 2.
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Old 03-27-2012, 02:20 AM   #21
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Re: Ask me about long term independent budget travel

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ever been to New Zealand?
No. Would definitely love to do some trekking there but I generally stick to cheaper countries
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Old 03-27-2012, 02:30 AM   #22
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Re: Ask me about long term independent budget travel

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This is something I completely agree with. I wasted years trying to persuade friends to go travelling with me. Wish I’d taken the plunge and gone on my own much sooner.



Any recommendations on places to visit in Romania? I’m strongly considering taking a 2-3 week holiday in Transylvania when I get home from this trip.


Transylvania is probably the best part of Romania, it is beautiful. Brasov is a really nice town. From there you can get to tons of villages. Siniai is very nice (not sure if that is Transylvania or not, stopped there on the way from Bucharest). From Brasov you can do a day trip to Rasnov and Bran (Dracula's castle). I hithciked to both and back to Brasov in same day. Sighasoara, Sibiu are both well worth a stop. I also rented a car in Cluj Napoca and did a road trip for like 4 days I think. Up to Sighet Maramures stopping in Sapanta where the "happy cemetery" is and at Elie Wiesel's house. Central and Northern Romania is really great. I recommend a couple weeks in Romania. Bucharest sucks imo though




Also, does anyone have any recommendations for countries to hitchhike in?

You can hitchhike pretty much anywhere in Europe. If you go to Romania it is a great country for hitchhiking, very easy to get picked up. It is possible somebody may ask for some gas money but I was never asked. I did from Bucharest to Cluj Napoca (all though Transylvania) hithchiking with several stops along the way. Turkey is easy, Thailand is easy, China is easy. If you find the right place to stand you'll get picked up most places. location, location, location. I know people who have hitchhiked across the US, Portugal to China, Africa etc.
.
I don't normally hitchhike alone, usually do it with a girl. Guy/Girl is definitely the best combination for a lot of reasons.
.
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Old 03-27-2012, 06:01 AM   #23
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Re: Ask me about long term independent budget travel

long term independent budget travel = backpacking.
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Old 03-27-2012, 01:02 PM   #24
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Re: Ask me about long term independent budget travel

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long term independent budget travel = backpacking.
Long term independent budget travel is backpacking, but backpacking is not necessarily long term independent budget travel. The term also refers to long term trekking.
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Old 03-27-2012, 02:20 PM   #25
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Re: Ask me about long term independent budget travel

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If you wait to find people to go with you will probably never do it. Make the decision to do it and you'll meet people along the way and wont be alone.
I agree with this. But I also warn total noobs about traveling on your own for the first time- I think that your first big trip is probably best with at least one friend. Figuring out the process for traveling/learning how to do it is a difficult process in itself.

I do agree that traveling alone is a cool way to do it. You'll never really be alone (unless you want to be), since you'll meet people in hostels/etc.
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:03 PM   #26
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Re: Ask me about long term independent budget travel

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I agree with this. But I also warn total noobs about traveling on your own for the first time- I think that your first big trip is probably best with at least one friend. Figuring out the process for traveling/learning how to do it is a difficult process in itself.

I do agree that traveling alone is a cool way to do it. You'll never really be alone (unless you want to be), since you'll meet people in hostels/etc.
It depends on the person. Some people can not imagine doing anything by themselves like going to a restaurant or going kayaking or whatever.

But otherwise, as long as people start off in safe countries that are not very tourist-predatory, it shouldn't be an issue to travel alone. There isn't much to figure out. All you need is money and a hotel.

I disagree about loneliness. Just because you are surrounded by tons of people doesn't mean that you will not get lonely. Good relationships take time and effort to develop and you don't get that on the road. Transient semi-relationships one develops while traveling are just that - transient. They do not compare.

This is the worst part of long term travel. It doesn't matter how many random people I'm surrounded by and meet. I still miss my friends, my parents, my sis, my niece - and these people are much more important to me than a bunch of randoms I meat trekking for a week.
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:31 PM   #27
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Re: Ask me about long term independent budget travel

i remember reading your Nepal TR, did you ever consider going from there to Bhutan? it's always seemed like a pretty cool place to me. i know i've heard that to travel there the gov't requires you to spend some min $/day? i also vaguely remember reading about someone bypassing that requirement, though i don't remember how exactly.
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Old 03-27-2012, 11:50 PM   #28
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Re: Ask me about long term independent budget travel

That's a good point with loneliness. I guess I'm fortunate to have met some cool people in hostels (and eventually just kept traveling together with them) and developed some decent friendships.

I suppose W. Europe is definitely easy for someone on their first trip. But even still, I think I might have had problems if I were alone on that first trip. Could just have been me though.
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Old 03-28-2012, 02:46 AM   #29
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Re: Ask me about long term independent budget travel

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Any recommendations on places to visit in Romania?
I was in Romania for just under 3 weeks this past year and ad a great time. I came in from the north into Iasi which is a hidden treasure. It has tons of culture, churches, and is a very "normal" city in Romania in that there are not many tourists so I got to see how people live. Many people miss it but it has an interesting mix especially since it is close to Moldovia.

Bucharest is also an obvious choice due to the museums and the big government buildings with their history during the fall of communism in Romania.

Cluj-Napoca was a cool town which I would describe as being very young and modern. It's got a college town feel and lots of places to go out and hang out in the evening/night. Check out the brewery of the national beer which is based here. The actual brewery was shut down but it's a nice bar type of scene these days.

Finally, I can recommend Brasov since it is close to Dracula's Castle (Bran) (which isnt that cool to be honest) and the more interesting citadel in Rasnov. The Brasov "Hollywood" type sign is pretty funny but the town itself has some nice places to walk and get some beautiful views of the city.

These are the places that I actually visited that I enjoyed. I couchsurfed everywhere in Romania except for Brasov so I got to really experience the great Romania hospitality. I recommend meeting the locals. They are very friendly and have a very interesting culture.
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Old 03-28-2012, 03:02 AM   #30
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Re: Ask me about long term independent budget travel

Yeah, Brasov has a resort town feel to it.

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i remember reading your Nepal TR, did you ever consider going from there to Bhutan? it's always seemed like a pretty cool place to me. i know i've heard that to travel there the gov't requires you to spend some min $/day? i also vaguely remember reading about someone bypassing that requirement, though i don't remember how exactly.
No, far as I know you need to be on a tour that is like $250 per day. I would LOVE to visit, I'm in love with the Himalayas and Bhutan would be epic.
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